With the hype machine gearing up behind both HD DVD and Blu-ray, it’s easy to get swept along with the futuristic view of a converged HD entertainment universe. But not all commentators relish the move to technologies laced with some of the most severe digital rights management technology devised. Andy Marken, of Marken Communications, for one, has his doubts.
“The vision is really cool. When everything is in place, you will be able to enjoy your entertainment movie, music, photos, games anytime you want and on any device. Enjoy your stuff in the living room. Stream it to systems throughout the house. Synch it with your portable device(s). Burn a copy and take it with you. Unspoken in all of this though is that the protection technology is really difficult to negotiate. The big studios are intent on controlling how and where you use the content you buy from them. SAG (the US screen actors’ guild) sees the new technology benefit too. They are already negotiating how to get more out of the iTunes and other video download payments. Obviously that can only lead to higher costs and more restricted movement of the content you buy.”
“Tellywood overlooks (or plays down) the tens of thousands of indies around the globe who don’t have a huge, expensive infrastructure or overhead. They have one of those new sexy Panasonic digital camcorders, a new Intel-based PC with software from Ulead or Adobe and a desire to be set free. For an investment of $10K and a lot of sweat labor, they actually want you to see and hear their creative work. It may not be ‘premium’ content but then how much premium content have you seen/heard lately?” Marken’s advise is simple. Stick with traditional media like DVD and CD, at least for the time being. “There’s not much they can do with DVD burners except lower the price or announce higher speeds that have no specs; current media has every technology you’d ever want … DVD+/-R/RW/RAM/DL and CDR/RW, even a choice of LightScribe or Labelflash labeling technology. And DVDR is great media. It is everywhere. It is reliable. It is inexpensive. It simply works. In contrast, Blue laser will be expensive for at least a couple of years and it comes with content protection chains we’re not ready to wear yet.”